New orthodontic technologies provide plenty of options for children who need braces. Those who do not want traditional metal braces have the opportunity of choosing between other types of materials. An increasingly popular option is ceramic which can be less noticeable than other types of braces. However, ceramic braces come with some unique challenges. When trying to decide between ceramic or metal braces, you should carefully consider these factors.
What Appearance Do You Want?
Metal braces were the most common type of braces for years, so most people know what they look like already. These braces are simply silvery brackets attached to the teeth. They are connected with a thin metal archwire that is also silver. In some cases, the wire is held onto the teeth with colorful rubber bands.
Ceramic braces are braces with brackets made out of a clear or white colored material. They are most commonly ceramic, but they may be a special type of porcelain. Your dentist can pick a color that blends in with a child’s teeth, so they are not very noticeable in appearance. There will still be a thin archwire, which may be made out of metal or an invisible clear wire. The appearance of ceramic braces is normally a big reason that people pick them. However, those with very dark teeth may not want ceramic braces because the lighter color can make tooth enamel look grey or yellow.
What Is Your Activity Level?
Ceramic braces are made from a very tough type of ceramic, but it still is not as durable as metal. When a lot of pressure is put on them, the material can either crack or chip off, and repairing the material can be time consuming and expensive. This is not a concern for people who just have normal levels of activity. Ceramic braces can be worn during plenty of physically exhausting things, like long-distance races, pregnancy, or weightlifting. However, it can be a problem for kids who love movement or struggle with coordination. If your child is playing rough sports or constantly falling down, they will probably do better with traditional metal braces.
Do You Have a Tight Budget?
Keep in mind that ceramic braces are a little more expensive than traditional braces. This typically is not a problem for parents who get braces paid for through their insurance. However, if you are planning on paying for braces yourself while also budgeting for other expensive things like new homes, pregnancy, or a college tuition, the cost of ceramic braces can be a problem. Ceramic braces also tend to take a little longer than metal braces, so it extends the amount of time you have to be paying for braces.
Are Your Teeth Really Misaligned?
Since ceramic braces are tougher, the orthodontist can only make small adjustments each time. Ceramic braces tend to apply less pressure on the teeth and take a little more time to work. This typically is not a problem for people who just have slightly twisted or misaligned teeth. It can be a problem though for those with more severe problems like large gaps or overbites that will require more tooth movement during treatment. If your dentist tells you that your child is going to need extensive realignment, ceramic braces may not be the best option. Ceramic braces typically will not work if your child needs to wear special headgear along with the braces.
Do You Have a Very Sensitive Mouth?
Though ceramic braces might look less noticeable than metal braces, the reality is that the brackets themselves tend to be a little larger on ceramic braces. Most kids do not have a problem with this, but it can be slightly uncomfortable for those with tender mouths. The bigger brackets can cause some irritation to the inner lips. If your child has a low pain tolerance or a small mouth, ceramic braces are more likely to be uncomfortable than metal braces.
Are You Willing to Spend More Time on Oral Hygiene?
Modern ceramic braces do not stain severely like the older versions did. However, the light color of the brackets can make any sort of staining more evident, and the clear ligatures often used for ceramic braces will darken quickly if they are not properly cleaned. If your child struggles to remember to brush their teeth, they may do better with metal braces. Keep in mind that all types of braces will require great oral hygiene. People wearing braces need to brush their teeth at least twice a day, and brushing after every meal is recommended.
Does Your Diet Include Staining Foods?
Even the best oral hygiene cannot prevent ligature staining if your child is eating certain foods. Tea, coffee, and dark colas can all have certain colors that make ligatures darken or look brownish. A diet with a lot of tomatoes or colorful spices can lead to some problems. If your family frequently eats tomato sauce and curries, metal may be a better option. Stained ligatures do not technically cause any issues, but it can look a little unsightly.
Do You Want a Lot of Customization?
For many children, the only positive to getting braces is the chance to have fun, colorful rubber ligatures that can be chosen to match prom dresses, sports teams, or holidays. Ceramic braces traditionally use clear or white ligatures because these blend in with the teeth and provide a more streamlined appearance. However, your child can request colored rubber bands with ceramic brackets if desired. Both types of braces allow people to get customized ligatures if they want a fun and colorful look for their braces.
You Might Be Wondering:
If someone in your family is considering these braces, get in touch with Kinder Smiles. Dr. Engel and his experienced staff can help you to decide which type of braces is right for your situation.
Call us today to set up a consultation for you and your family achieve the perfect smile.
KinderSmiles Pediatric Dentistry and Orthodontics
400 Kinderkamack Rd.
Oradell, NJ 07649
Should I get Ceramic or Metal [Braces?]